Exercises to help you fight the bulge
With age and love of beer and desserts, we develop beer bellies, muffin tops, thunder thighs and double or even triple chin. “Men tend to put on weight on the stomach, while women get fat deposits on the hip and thigh regions,” says Pooja Thacker, medical and sports therapist at Bhatia Hospital in Mumbai. “Fat accumulates because that particular part of the body, that muscle, hasn’t been moved much,” says Mumbai-based celebrity fitness trainer Vinod Channa, whose clients include actor John Abraham. Aim at a bigger fat spot like abdominal muscles or the back and thighs in your fitness regime and you will not only burn fat from that spot, but also lose overall weight faster, Channa adds. To address these trouble zones, you need a combination of cardio and strength training, teamed with a balanced diet, says Wanitha Ashok, a fitness expert who runs Moving Body studio in Bengaluru. Be it the beer belly or arms with chicken wing flab, we list the exercises to get them in shape.
Position your feet shoulder-width apart, with your back in line with a wall, says Pallavi Chugh, physiotherapist at Fortis Mamma Mia, Gurgaon. Keep your arms on either side, bend your knees, push your hips back as you lower your back against the wall. “Go as far as you can or until your thighs are parallel to the floor, without lifting your heels,” says Chugh. Hold for 5-10 seconds and do 10 repetitions twice a day.
Stomach fat can be reduced by aiming at the bigger muscle groups, says Channa, since your belly becomes larger because of overall weight gain. “Do Crossfit, aim for overall weight loss, workout for your legs and back to burn more calories,” he adds. Ab and oblique exercises like bicycle crunches, Russian twists (which entail sitting on one’s buttocks and moving the legs from one side to other), Side V sit-ups, C-crunch (where you lie on your back and move your knees to your shoulders) and boat also aim at the belly, says Ashok. “Choose three-four different exercises and do them with core workouts and with lower back workout,” she says.
Tackle jowls with a tongue press, says Chugh. Sit back straight, tilt your head back so that you’re looking at the ceiling. “Now forcefully press your tongue flat on the roof of your mouth,” she says. Keep the tongue in place and lower your chin to your chest as far as possible without rounding your upper back. “You should feel your chin and the front of your neck contract,” says Chugh. Now relax your tongue and straighten the neck. That’s one repetition and you need to do two sets of 20 repetitions. If that’s too much, Vesna Pericevic Jacob, founder of Delhi-based fitness company Vesna’s Alta Celo, suggests that you simply put a big smile on your face while keeping your teeth closed together. “Face yoga is great for targeting the double chin. Keep the smile on till you feel the muscles on the chin and neck activate,” she says. Keep it for a count of five-10 and repeat a few times.
Thighs are the biggest muscles of the body, and sitting all day makes them a magnet for storing fat, says Channa. “Tackle the fat with wide squat, jump, hip thruster (where you keep your back against a chair, knees folded and raise your hip) and hip raises (where you lie on your back, knees folded and raise your hips),” he says. In addition, add lunges, step-ups and side lifts. “Remember to involve your hips in these movements for maximizing the benefit,” he says. Do one set with 10 repetitions to start with and add in more sets with each passing week.
Chicken wing arms
Counter flabby upper arms with standing dumbbell exercises, says Chugh. Stand up with a light dumbbell in both hands, lift it over your head, keep the body straight and the legs shoulder-width apart. “Do 20 repetitions, twice a day,” she says. To aim at triceps, do four sets of push-downs, crab walk, elbow palm plank (in 15 repetitions), adds Channa.
Bulk on the back
The back can also load up on fat. It can easily be toned down with upper back and leg exercises. “Do one-arm dumbbell row, wide- and close-feet pull ups,” says Channa.
Tighten up the loose muscles around the neck with a simple neck stretch. Sit on a chair, place the right hand under the chair seat and the left palm on the opposite side of the head. “Keeping your head in alignment with your neck, bend it towards your left shoulder, using your palm to gently press down your head towards the shoulder,” says Chugh. Keep this position for 10 seconds and do three repetitions on each side, twice a day.